Isn’t it interesting that a senior research fellow at the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation is questioning the definition of poverty in this country (“U.S. has a poor definition of poverty,” Press Herald, July 25).

The author claims that “the main dietary problem faced by poor Americans is eating too much, not too little.”

How can he possibly be so out of touch with reality? Or is he just trying to deceive the public? He says that we really don’t have many poor people in this country. Wow.

The article undermines the poor and attempts to justify the radical right’s efforts to dismantle good social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The huge deficit that we now face in this country was not created by the aid programs mentioned above, but by corporate greed, corruption and bailouts, give-away subsidies to large corporations, two costly wars and excessive military spending, and large tax breaks for wealthy individuals.

Perhaps the author should leave his ivory tower and work in a few soup kitchens, or work with poor children and their families, as I have for nearly 40 years, to get a better understanding of the true hardships of poverty.

The gap between rich and poor continues to widen and poverty is becoming even more of a problem as programs to aid the poor are eliminated.

Roben Voigt

Freeport 

People and governor deserve last word on wind  

Gov. Paul LePage is on record as stating: “(Wind projects) are doing an awful lot of damage to our quality of life, our mountains . . . I don’t think it’s going to lower the cost of energy. I think in 10 years we’re going to be like Sweden and Denmark and we’re going to be swearing at ourselves.”

The official tally of testimony, including written and oral presentations at LURC’s hearings regarding the Bowers Mountain Wind project, are in: 32 of 379 (8.4 percent) favor the project; 349 of 379 (91 percent) oppose the project.

So now we’ll find out: Are we living in a democratic system? Does LURC answer to the governor and the citizens of Maine? Or will the propaganda, and targeted financial contributions, of an out-of-state developer run roughshod over the will of the people?

Jack Gagnon

Lakeville 

Columnist’s climate views show his love of fantasy 

I developed a better understanding of M.D. Harmon’s commentaries when he disclosed in a recent column that he is “a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy.”

This makes me wonder if that is what he had in mind when promoting the comments of William Happer regarding climate change. Happer is a former CFC-ozone layer depletion skeptic and current climate change denialist.

His professional credentials are that he is a physicist who specializes in optics and spectroscopy, areas of science far different from climatology. Nevertheless, Happer has boldly stated that “increases in carbon dioxide in the environment will be good for mankind because of its impact on plant growth.”

Maybe Happer and Harmon are unaware of the extensive C02 level studies done at the University of Illinois and the Department of Agriculture that show yields of staple crops diminish significantly as the C02 level increases, the result of greater crop damage from insects and plant disease.

Studies show this occurs because the plants are less nutritious and lose their natural ability to resist attack as C02 levels rise. However, weeds grow well with higher C02 levels.

Moreover, pollen production from ragweed increases exponentially as C02 increases and the pollen has a higher degree of allergenicity. Worldwide rates of children suffering from asthma doubled since 1980 due to increased pollen as well as smog from burning hydrocarbons.

The reality is higher C02 levels make it more difficult to grow food and for people to breath, something that should concern even readers and writers of fantasy and science fiction.

Jeff Madore

Cumberland Foreside  

Has to be a better way to keep roads safe for bikes 

I am an avid bicycle rider. I do not drive so I have to depend on a bicycle or buses to get around the city of South Portland.

Every day I see cars continually stop over the white line or on the crosswalk so I am forced to ride in the road. Some of the white lines are faded. I see people running stop signs all the time. I have even been cut off by a car when I was waiting for the light to change to green.

I would like to see the things that I have mentioned be enforced. It is the law. They paint crosswalks and lines in the roads for our saftey.

I realize the police department is busy during the day. There has got to be a better way to enforce this. It is very frustrating to say the least.

Lynne Washburn

South Portland 

Support for ranked-choice varies with the situation 

I have a sneaky feeling that people arguing for “instant runoff” and “ranked-choice voting” were singing a different tune in 2006, when John Baldacci was re-elected with 38 percent of the vote.

Christine Rousselle

Scarborough 

Birth control proposal diminshes gift of life 

I write in response to an Institute of Medicine recommendation that government require health insurance companies to cover birth control as preventive care requiring no co-payments.

Pregnancy is a healthy condition that would best be supported by love and care of mother and child. Contraception is an artificial means to prevent the true nature of procreation and is often used for enjoyment of “sex” without commitment to the well-being of each person.

Of greater concern is the possible inclusion of abortion pills. The message of our government covering these services is one that is not welcoming to the true gift of human life and overall well-being of women who deserve the best care available.

There are healthy alternatives, including pregnancy centers, faith-based initiatives, programs that help young women from engaging in sex, known as abstinence education, and counseling and mentoring support.

Rob Poissant

Gorham